Rob Shoesmith

iPhone 5 Experiment - Interviews

News   •   Nov 17, 2011 20:49 GMT

I'm a 30 year old guy from Coventry England and I studied internet marketing at University but due to a lack of maturity on my part I was forced to quit my course early which I truly regretted. 

Heavily in debt I needed to find a job fast to pay off my debts. I found a job as a bin man for my local government and I saw this as an opportunity to pay my debts and then look at my career options. 

It's funny how life pans out and 5 years later I was still emptying dustbins and felt really depressed and knew I had more to offer and wanted to get into tech marketing and PR. 

The Problem was not the fact I could do a good job but the fact I had no experience. I was looking for a break, an opportunity for someone to give me a chance, I knew if I contacted marketing companies my resume wouldn't be good enough and would have been put in the bin. 

I was browsing the Apple Appstore for apps and came across a company called MEDL Mobile who had released an app called the 'App Incubator' which allows everyday people without programming or coding knowledge the opportunity to send them ideas for apps. In exchange for the idea if MEDL Mobile like it they will pay the full development cost and share a percentage of the profits with the person who came up with the idea. 

More info 

This was just the opportunity I was looking long and hard for! Over a period of around 2 weeks I must have brainstormed and submitted at least 30 idea through the app incubator!

To my excitement about a month later I then received an email back from one of the owners of MEDL Mobile Dave Swartz to inform me they were very interested in developing on of my app ideas Problem Halved.

Here is a You Tube video of me at working as a binman talking to the BBC back in 2009.

Problem Halved is a problem solving app that allows people to post a problem on just about anything and lets the community come and post advice.

I put together a big media campaign all self taught and generated international press attention. MEDL Mobile were so impressed they gave me a part time job to promote other apps they have promoted. 

I did this for around 18 months and around 4 months ago they offered me a full time job as a marketing and PR Executive. This was when my experiment idea was born. 

I'm a huge Apple fan and love their product launches for the iPhone. There is always a huge buzz and I wanted to be a part of it! As I relatively new to marketing and PR I wanted to make an impact!

Apple has such a huge marketing and PR influence I wanted to see if it would be possible to camp out without spending any money in line on anything through donations from companies and individuals. 

The response was amazing. All in all I had over 150 companies donate a range of items including

- Helly Hansen outdoor clothing worth £1000
- A Belly Dancer flying down from Scotland to dance for me
- A number of London restaurants delivering meals to my tent
- Lot's of Gadgets 
- Live bands performing
- A hairdresser who cut my hair.
- My own Personal Assistant

As I work for an app developer the aim was to build relationships with these companies who may be looking to build mobile apps for their companies in the future. I connected with more useful period in the space of 10 days than I have in 2 years by email. 

The whole experience was so exhausting but so productive. I was only getting around 3 hours of sleep a night which really took its toll on my health but I knew I had to keep going and quitting was not an option. At some points during the experiment I was barely able to stand up. Sleep deprivation is really hard to cope with, but I got through it and it was a mental challenge to get to the end. 

What I wasn't expecting was to connect with so many homeless people as I did. 

I found living on the streets really hard and I had top quality equipment and had restaurants delivering food to me. Some of the people I met had nothing!

One of the first people I met was a homeless guy called Terry Partington who I formed a close friendship with. He was interested in my experiment and was so helpful with him minding my bags when I needed the bathroom and assisted in filming some You Tube videos for me. He had been homeless for around 3 months and to my surprise one day he pulled out a Mac Book and connected to the internet via Apple's wifii. His computer was the only way to stay in contact with the world he dearly missed and wanted to be a part of again.  As a way to say thanks I gave him a laptop bag I'd been given by a sponsor as I would have hated for the cold London weather and rain break his computer and sorted him out with some food and drinks.

He is on twitter

He has a keen interest in learning digital imaging to try and get off the streets. A few days into my experiment I got talking to a freelance photographer and mentioned Terry to him and it just happens that he runs a photography course and is willing to give Terry some tuition. There were so many homeless people I met who knew so much about Apple products. 

I was also camped outside the store when I found out the news of Steve Job's death. I was woken at around 4.30 in the morning bytweet notification on my iPhone and I couldn't believe it. The following day there were so many leaving flowers and apples outside the store to pay their respects.

Another scary thing to witness was the robbery of the Apple Store in Covent Garden. I was in a heavily sleep in my sleeping bag when I heard the sound of lots of motorbikes screeching into the square near to the Store and the sound of broken glass. Apparently the robbers were only 10 feet away from me but due to a lack of sleep on the previous night I slept through the majority of it. 

I did a competition whereby my blog readers could challenge me to a game of Boxhead The Zombie Wars. With all the media coverage around my experiment download figures increased hugely!

I was the blogger who broke the story and I had lots of press calls the follow morning about it. 

Here is a link to the blog I posted.

The amount of new  connections I have made has been amazing. I've even had emails from the people of Brazil who had wished me luck and offered to senfd over Brazilian soccer jerseys.

I was even donated a holiday to Dubai if I made it to the end by a company called which was crazy! I have been so busy since the experiment has finished I can't wait to spend some time relaxing on a nice beach!

The experiment was a huge success and I'm already in the process of planning part 2. 

People can follow my current activity on twitter or contact me at